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An additional emblem – the red crystal alongside the red cross and red crescent

08-12-2005 Press Briefing

At a joint press briefing in Geneva, the ICRC and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have expressed their satisfaction at today's decision of the Diplomatic Conference held in Geneva to adopt a third protocol additional to the Geneva Conventions, creating another emblem alongside the red cross and red crescent.

In his opening remarks at the press briefing, François Bugnion, the ICRC's director for international law and cooperation within the Movement, welcomed the outcome of the conference.

  ©ICRC/T. Gassmann/CER-E-00208    

" We are delighted that the Protocol has been adopted because we consider this a decisive step to a solution of long-standing humanitari an issues. "

These issues, he explained, included the adoption of an additional emblem for the protection of war victims and moves towards the universality of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

However, Mr Bugnion did not hide the Movement's disappointment that the issue had to be settled by a vote.

" We very much regret that despite months of preliminary negotiations and three days of intensive discussions...and despite the good offices of Switzerland and other countries…the conference divided and votes had to be taken. We would have preferred the Protocol be adopted by consensus but that's part of democratic life. "

Both Mr Bugnion and Chris Lamb, the International Federation's special advisor on the emblem, said that the Movement now had to make a particular effort to convince the countries that voted against the Protocol of its advantages and benefits.

Mr Lamb said he was sure that the flexibility offered by the additional emblem would soon be of benefit to National Societies worldwide.

The adoption of the new Protocol should pave the way for the full entry into the Movement of both Israel's Magen David Adom (MDA) and the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS).

The signing of an agreement between the PRCS and the MDA on 28 November also contributed to the successful outcome of the Conference by defining operational arrangements that will enhance these Societies’ cooperation when carrying out their humanitarian mandate.

The signing of Protocol III marks a watershed in the diplomatic process, and it is now the responsibility of the Movement to adapt its rules and procedures to the new situation.

With the adoption of the Protocol, the Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent will call an Inte rnational Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 2006. The Conference brings together States party to the Geneva Conventions, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the 183 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Federation.

The Conference will be asked to amend the statutes of the Movement, to take into account the creation of the new emblem in order to realize the objective of universality.

Several countries are considering the use of the additional emblem and may, if they wish, opt to use both the red cross and red crescent within the crystal.

During the press briefing, Mr Lamb said the additional emblem puts an end to any question of further emblems being adopted.

" This is the end of any question of proliferation, " he said, " There won't be another emblem. "